Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

25 May 2011

Three Ladies

On the day of Oprah's last show, it seems somehow fitting to write about "women's," "ladies'", "girls'" or "female" bikes. 

Yesterday morning, on my way to work, I had the feeling I was going to see something interesting.  And I did, only four blocks from my apartment:

Do I sense some jealousy from Marianela?  Just look at the way she's standing there and looking at this cute young thing.  Well, all right, she's not so young.  Even if the style and rust didn't tell me so, I know this bike has to be about 40 years old, possibly even older.  Then again, they say "forty is the new twenty."  

But I know the bike has to be forty, or even older, because of its style.  When was the last time you saw top and frame tubes that looked like these?

The top tube is really a pair of twin parallel tubes, as one finds on a mixte frame. But it has that long, sinuous curve found on the old Schwinn "Hollywood" and other "girls'" bikes from the 1960's and earlier.

Another give-away to the bike's age is the color:  a kind of metallic blue-green that was popular during the early and mid-1960's, at least on kids' bikes.

It was also a color Rollfast used on many of its bikes throughout its history.  In a previous post, I wrote about this brand, which was made right next to the site of the former World Trade Center.

Today I had a day off because none of my classes had exams.  And it was like an early summer day, at least weather-wise.  So, in spite of waking up late and doing laundry, among other things, I was able to spend a couple of hours with Helene:

I think she wanted to show off her new accessories more than anything.  Now she has a Carradice Barley.  What girl doesn't like a new bag?  

Plus, she has pink Cinelli cork tape.  I had to replace the tape I'd originally installed after I mounted the shift levers on the Velo Orange handlebar pods.  

Even when she's showing off, she's still a proper lady.  And she's an even better one when I ride with her!


  1. Just stumbled across your site while trying to find a vintage bike from the 60's. I'm 50 plus tax now,and I'm trying to connect to the free spirit girl I used to be when I had my first bike. Somehow I know... an old vintage bike will revive my spirit and set me free to discover new
    horizons and people. Mid-Life Cycling is good for ones soul! Thank You for the inspiring website and vintage information...Mary

  2. Mary--You made my day! Thank you for the compliments. I hope you keep on coming back to Mid-Life Cycling!

  3. My wish came true tonight! My husband surprised me by coming home a little late...Not a big deal, a lot of traffic I thought. He came into the house with a serious look on his face. He asked me to go outside he wanted to show me something. Hum... I thought, what's broken? There standing in the driveway was my new vintage bike! It's over 40 years old and she's a beauty!
    I was so shocked and surprised!!!
    She's an original with all her parts, a few minor dents and dings but she's a classic and I'm so happy just like when I was a kid getting a new bike! I'm going for a ride tomorrow. I'll keep you posted!
    Vintage, Retro, and Shabby Chic
    That's me! Mary

  4. Mary, I'm happy for you! Please keep me posted.